Nov 30, 2010

The Challenge Continues...

This all began with a challenge from Debra of Heart's Desire Beading Company.  She responded to my post "Taking the Easy Way Out...A Dilemma for This Artist".  We are stepping out of our comfort zones together and working on jewelry skills that will stretch us and challenge us.  This second challenge about did me in, but through it I think I've gained not only more knowledge, but also more confidence, especially when it comes to fixing my mistakes.

I first wanted to fix my first attempt at bezel setting.  I made a ring a year ago, and a soldered joint on the band popped after I had set the stone.  I had to take out the stone and resolder the ring.  I had the knowledge of how to do it from some more experienced friends, but I was fearful of messing it up more that it already was.  I could wear the ring, but I could never sell it with the flaw.  So I took out the stone with the blunt end of an exacto knife, resoldered the ring and replaced the stone....TWICE.  Yes, I tend to learn things the hard way. 

I did learn that easy solder is not good for joints that get a lot of stress.  About this time, I was stressed!  The third time worked well.  I'm still not happy with the results, but the knowledge that I gained outweighs the silver that I will later scrap.

I tried my hand at a wide band ring, but for the life of me, I couldn't get the ends to aligned completely through the whole width of the band, so I made it adjustable.  I then tried my hand at more metal clay pieces, covering some bittersweet with some clay paste and firing the pieces...TWICE!  Yet another lesson learned.  Firing at 1650 degrees for two hours results in better sintering of the metal clay and a stronger piece than the standard 1290 degrees for 10 minutes.  More metal for the scrap pile. 

In the end, this is the result I got from the wide ring band with the metal clay piece soldered to the band.  Soldering of the metal clay piece to the shank...I did this THREE times. A lot of practice makes perfect, no?  I hear that it builds character too.  We'll see.